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Bir Zeit University Closed Down Following Demonstrations on Campus

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Israeli military authorities closed down Bir Zeit University on the West Bank today following demonstrations on the campus earlier in the week at which more than 100 students were arrested. Bir Zeit, 10 miles north of Ramallah, is considered an intellectual stronghold of support for the Palestine Liberation Organization. It has been closed down several times in the past after anti-Israel demonstrations by the student body.

The university was ordered closed today for a period of three months because of student protests against the Israeli occupation despite repeated warnings by the West Bank civil administration and the army, the authorities said. It had been reopened only a few months ago after the faculty heads promised that the students would stay in their classrooms and refrain from demonstrations. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon is believed to have triggered the latest protests.

There were demonstrations elsewhere on the West Bank following the ouster of Mayor Ahmad Shawki of Jenin and his town council by the Israeli authorities. He is the fifth West Bank Mayor to be removed by the Israelis in less than a year for alleged pro-PLO sentiments and refusal to cooperate with the civil administrations. The Israelis replaced him Tuesday with Shehab Sanouri, a local contractor. Two town councilmen were also replaced.

Meanwhile, members of the Gaza municipal council today rejected a demand by the Israeli civil administration to end its strike and cease all political activities.

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